Council tax hike in Northampton is partly to cover Sixfields debt, claims opposition leader

Conservatives on Northampton Borough Council have finally realised they cannot run services on 'thin air' an opposition group says - after the Tory administration announced plans to hike council tax by two per cent.

Saturday, 10th December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:07 pm
Lib Dem group leader Sally Beardsworth has long said the Conservatives pledge to freeze council tax in succesive years was "totally unsustainable."

The Conservative group said it would "always seek to freeze Council Tax,” in its 2015 borough council manifesto.

The party swept to victory that year, but the administration is now proposing a two per cent rise in the tax base for the 2017/18 year, which it claims would only equate to a £5 a year rise for band D homes.

But leader of the Liberal Democrats on the borough Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Lib Dem, Kingsthorpe) says the rise is an admission by the Tory group that it needs to bolster its revenue stream because of mounting budget pressures.

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She has said on previous occasions to pledge to freeze tax was "totally unsustainable."

The council took on the debt to the Public Works Loans Board, for the £10.25 million it loaned to Northampton Town in November 2015 - and is incurring around £275,000 a year in interest payments.

In July the authority dipped into its reserves for an extra £500,000 to use on legal fees to recover the loan money - on top of the £450,000 it has already spent.

Councillor Sally Beardsworth, said: “Finally the Tories have admitted that you can’t run public services on thin air."

She continued: “Conservatives on the borough council blew millions of pounds on vanity projects like the new bus station and loans to dodgy developers, which benefited neither

Northampton Town Football Club nor the council tax payers.

"How can we trust them to set a realistic budget?"

“Liberal Democrats will be analysing these proposals in detail and pushing for realistic, affordable budget proposals to get Northampton through these tough times. "